First person 

Sierra Cain

The Valencia County Extension Office’s homesteading series, “Extension Homesteading and YOU” is still in full swing. With the spring winds upon us, some households are preparing for “spring cleaning.” Are you one who has already started their spring cleaning? If not, do not worry, I have not either!   

In the past, spring was a time for homemakers to clean the winter coal soot off walls, coverings and fixtures of their homes to start renewing and cleaning their house gardens.  

We may ask ourselves, where do we start spring cleaning?  

The answer: Just simply start. Maybe it is picking up that unopened mail, clearing off a messy counter or organizing that dreaded junk drawer. If you still find it difficult to get started, here are a few strategies that can be added to your cleaning list to help you and your family stay healthy.  


With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to accumulate clutter and even easier to become overwhelmed by it. Start with a small section, and clear out things that do not belong there. Move them to where they belong and not just by putting them in the correct area but put away items that crept out of their designated space, no sense in moving them twice.   

Clean and sanitize your food pantries 

Start with one area at a time. Remove items and scrub them down and fully allow them to dry before restocking. Look at all food items and dispose of anything broken, opened or expired. Rotate your items so that older items are the first out. Rotating keeps from having food expire so you can use everything which will save money, too.  

Clean refrigerators and freezers 

Plan to clean out your refrigerator and freezer during spring cleaning and every two to three months to help with food spoilage. Follow safe food handling practices to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and store your food properly. Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  

The freezer should be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  

Your refrigerator and freezer thermometers should be disposed of properly and new ones purchased at this time to confirm they work properly. Implement a first in, first out method for your refrigerator and frozen foods.   

Clean and sanitize 

Clean and sanitize cupboard doors, back splash, counters, sinks and garbage disposals, garbage and recycle bins. Grease tends to collect on these surfaces, along with dirt and grime. Also do not forget to clean both inside and outside of your bins. Cleaning these surfaces every two to three months helps keep your kitchen clean and healthy.  

Baseboards and floors 

During spring cleaning, it is a perfect time to clean your baseboards. Baseboards are often overlooked and vacuuming them with the bristle brush attachment to remove dust; wiping them down with a damp microfiber cloth will make them sparkle.  

When it comes to floors, ensure to sweep or vacuum up any crumbs or dirt on the floor. After you have gotten rid of the dirt, mop your floors with a cleaning solution and water. Be sure to read the label to ensure the cleaning solution is safe for your type of flooring.  

Floors are one of the most exposed areas in our homes, especially from the bacteria and dirt brought in on the bottom of shoes.  

If you are interested in homemade cleaners, follow us on our Facebook page for ideas, during our “Extension Homesteading and YOU” series for great recipes and tips, each Thursday of April.  

Program announcements 

To register for an upcoming program, call the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service at 505-565-3002. For more information, visit  

  • Ready, Set, GROW! Free gardening classes are being offered virtually. Registration required, please visit the link for upcoming classes and more information at 
  • Financial Literacy Virtual Workshop for New Mexico Youth ages 16-26. This is a free series offered on Zoom for youth throughout New Mexico. Registration is required; visit
  • Spring Sourdough Workshop from 10-12 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, at the Valencia County Extension Office. Participants will learn the techniques of sourdough through instruction and hands-on practice. Each participant will receive a sourdough starter and recipes to go home. The lab cost is $10. Space is limited. Call the extension office to get registered at 505-565-3002. Contact Sierra Cain or Crystal Anaya for more information. 

If you are an individual with a disability who requires auxiliary aid or service to participate in a program, please contact the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 505-565-3002 two weeks in advance of the event.  

(Sierra Cain is the Valencia County 4-H/Youth Development agent for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.) 

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Sierra Cain, guest columnist

Sierra Cain is the Valencia County 4-H/Youth Development agent for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.